Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Day one: Tempo Runs...

Well, this is actually sort of like 'Day two', since I did a 6 mile 'easy run' yesterday. The toughest part about easy runs, I find, is actually taking it easy. But I didn't do too badly yesterday as I targetted 5 minute kilometers (8 minute miles) and in fact did the 10 kilometers in 49:31 -- just under that pace.

But this is the first day that we actually had a plan that my coach (Brian) and I had agreed upon, so we'll go with today as 'Day One'.

The first challenge was to convert my mind to start thinking in miles, rather than kilometers. I've always liked kilometers because they are shorter and I'm able to get faster feedback on my pace during a race. But now that I have a GPS that Gwyn sold me, I can track my pace any time I want, so since the Corning course will be laid-out in miles, 'miles' it is.

Tonight we met at the 'speed work area' -- William Street, just west of Denfield Road -- to work on my tempo pace. My plan called for 6 miles of tempo runs, including 1 mile of warm up and 1 mile of cool-down at a much slower pace. And my 4 miles of actual tempo pace were to be at a 7:38/mile pace. When I started off, I thought that this was going to be too easy. But by the time I was into the third mile, I was comfortable with the decision to follow the plan. All of my miles were 7:38 or better, although I must admit that I turned it up a notch in the last mile, doing it in 7:30.

Brian, who is working towards a 3 hour marathon, was doing 5 miles of 7:00/mile pace. To put that in perspective, it is like doing a run 60% farther than my fastest 5k -- at better than my fastest 5k pace! But he did it -- kudos to him. Just 12 more weeks to go!

Perhaps one of the reasons why I like Brian as a coach, though, is his common sense approach to all of this. Its not like we're training for the Olympics. We're going through this in order to improve our personal best marathon times -- and it had better be fun, or its going to be a long 13 weeks. So, as we were cooling down, Brian mentioned that he had a few beers at his car. We pulled the lawn chairs from Jenny's Jeep, cracked open a couple of brewskis and sat at the side of the road watching Jenny and Tori do their speed work for the next twenty minutes or so. Now this is how to train for a marathon!

After Jenny and Tori were done, we went back to the house and I did my ritual of hosing my legs and hips with cold water in the shower. Not exactly an ice bath, but I definitely find that it helps relieve the stiffness from my legs. If you find yourself stiff after a run, I highly recommend it -- but after a long run, an ice bath is definitely the way to go. It sounds worse than it actually is -- particularly if you get into cool but comfortable water up to your waist and then put the ice into the tub -- but it is definitely worthwhile to reduce or eliminate stiffness after a run.

Anyhow, a very good first day!

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